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phone number ripoff: What are these?

On Monday, the message below was posted to info-mcl, and
practically every other newsgroup on the Internet as well.

Of course, it has nothing to do with MCL. Apparently it is 
part of a scam to get you to call these numbers. He makes 
money because the price of these calls is transferred back 
to his account (sort of like 900 numbers here in the USA).
Do be careful, please.

 >To: info-mcl@ministry.cambridge.apple.com
 >From: warren@cyberspace.com (Warren Victorian)
 >Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp.mcl
 >Subject: What are these?
 >Date: 16 Aug 1993 21:02:36 -0700
 >Organization: (CYBERSPACE) Public Internet 206.286.1600
 >Nntp-Posting-Host: cyberspace.com
 >I found these wierd international phone sex lines in a magazine the ...